This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

There is an increase in child sex trafficking globally: Is the internet partially to blame?

                      (image from 10 Surprising and Counterintuitive
                                 Facts About Child Sex Trafficking)

You could say I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet when it comes down to any form of abuse, even more so when it is to do with child sex trafficking!

Looking at statistics on international sex trafficking (and these can never be totally accurate due to unreported cases), there has been an increase in both boys and girls under the age of 18 targeted for sexual exploitation.

Child prostitution, according to The International Labour Organisation, is at the top of the list of worst forms of child labour.



And indeed, figures from the United Nations Office of drugs and crime (2014) confirm a clear increase for victims of both sexes.


What on earth is wrong with people? Why are so many minors taken advantage of for sexual pleasure and can the internet be partly to blame?

I suspect children mean nothing to traffickers and are seen as easy money, a commodity to be used and sold over and over again. As Equalitynow.org states:

"Trafficking women and children for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. This is despite the fact international law and the laws of 134 countries criminalise sex trafficking"

Okay, my anger has subsided. Let me get down to some of the nitty-gritty of how the internet is in some way complicit in child sex trafficking.

I researched many websites. Some of which, I have to say, were not my cup of tea, but each to their own, if you like pornography and prostitution-that is as long as it doen`t involve under-age people. But how can we ever be sure?

Here is one example I found on mybackpage.com. They advertise sex online here in the UK, but also in other Countries.

 How old is this person? She certainly does not look over 18. Has she been forced into prostitution?



And some of the personal ads are all over the net if one dares to look (oh my) providing provocative images of providers of sex. Once again, how can one be sure they are not a minor?



This particular Ad was in Craigslist. "Sweet looking submissive girl..."


Don`t get me wrong. There could be genuine adverts for adults. Maybe personal ads are a safer way of advertising sex than walking the streets?

Here below is a listing from Twitter:


OK, that's from 2014, and apparently the myredbook.com website and others have been taken down due to concerns of child sex trafficking.



I took a glance at twitter hashtags too and it did not take long to find #incall and #excorts on there. So what, you may say, is there any harm in that?

How about websites such as eros.com?
On entering the site, it states categorically:

"Eros has a zero tolerance policy for child pornography or minors advertising or utilising our site. I agree to report any illegal activities which violate terms of use"

Great, so users can be reassured that those advertising their services on there have not been trafficked and not under age? Another site, rubmaps.com, who advertise erotic massage parlours, is where users leave their feedback on ratings of sexual prowess of the masseurs!

What would happen if these kind of sites were taken down by authorities? We would then be talking about a heck of a lot of sites. I mean, you are talking twitter and facebook too for that matter?

The argument here is that a website should be held to account if they (quoting Politiscope.com):

"knowingly profit from the advertising of sexual activity that involves a minor or a person who is forced or coerced into the act"


This seems to be a rare thing though because most websites are covered by The Communications Decency Act of 1996; whereby websites are not necessarily held liable for user content. I guess this is essential for maintaining freedom of speech, but I believe this makes for a very sketchy, narrow protective line with slippery slope potential.


Take for instance Craigslist.com which came under fire in 2010 for facilitating the advertisement of erotic services in their personal ads; a lot of money was being generated from the adverts. They sent out this message in an attempt to smooth out the situation:




That was all fine and dandy, but the personal pages are still up and running. Are they not?





And so the internet remains an easy haven for child sex traffickers? The recent article below explains just how simple it is for people to be tracked down. The dangers may seem obvious to most of us, but probably not to minors. 




Ok, I am not keen on tabloids, but it makes a good point. However, I wonder how many children on the internet are interacting with sexual predators they mistakenly feel are genuine.


And what about this thing called "sexting", in which kids share sexual images with their assumed online good friend, but are then coerced into sexual exploitation because of subsequent threats to post those images?


The above excerpt is from this Guardian link.


The more I have looked into this, believe me, the horrors of what is happening evokes anger, frustration and utter contempt for the perpetrators.

Though convictions seem to be few and far between, they do happen. Below is an excerpt from an FBI web page with details on one crime family's members pleading guilty to child sex trafficking among other crimes.



Can we have hope of this ever being stopped? Although the subject makes me think the world is awash with evil, I have to believe so. At least there is more awareness of how easy a child can be trafficked. These children are not criminals but victims and must be treated so, if they are rescued.

Is it up to individuals to intercede, investigate and then report suspected trafficking? Should governments be doing more?



Are the Amber Alerts effective?




I would use that for sure.




This needs to stop.


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